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US health insurers partner with generics maker Civica Posted 14/02/2020

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The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a federation of health insurers in the US, has formed a partnership with generics manufacturer Civica Rx to reduce the costs of generic drugs.

The BCBSA, a federation of 36 health insurance companies across the US, has announced a partnership with Civica Rx, a non-profit generic manufacturer. Civica was established in 2018 by three philanthropists and various healthcare organizations to combat drug shortages and price spikes in hospitals in the US [1].

The partnership will create a new subsidiary with the aim of reducing the prices of generic drugs. Eighteen independent BCBS companies will provide US$55 million to the subsidiary, which is also seeking input from other health plans, employers, retail partners and healthcare innovators.

President and CEO of BCBSA said the partnership aims to increase access to essential medicines. ‘As BCBS companies and Civica embark on this important work, we hope others will join us to achieve the change Americans want to see in the health care system’.

Martin VanTrieste, President and CEO of Civica, said the high costs of medication mean some patients in the US ration their generic prescriptions, or in some cases are unable to fill them at all.
 
‘Serving patients is our privilege and our responsibility—one that we are proud to share with BCBS companies who are committed to tackling one of the most important healthcare challenges of our time’, said VanTrieste.

Civica Board Chairman Dan Liljenquist added: ‘Civica is already bringing value—in quality, supply and price—to the in-patient hospital market and with BCBS will expand that mission to reach individuals and families buying generic prescriptions in hospitals and pharmacies. Combining Civica’s mission with the commitment BCBS companies show to their members places us in a position to make a significant impact on lowering drug costs’.

The subsidiary formed through the partnership will acquire and develop abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) for high-cost generic drugs, with Civica (and other manufacturing partners) to manufacture the products. The overall aim is to bring more affordable generic drugs to the market, in exchange for aggregated volume and multi-year purchasing commitments.

The subsidiary will initially prioritize generic medications with high potential for cost savings, before expanding to additional generic medications. The BCBSA says the first generics produced by the subsidiary will be available in 2022.

Civica Rx is already producing 18 medications, available at over 1,200 hospitals across the US. These include:
Daptomycin, an antibiotic for skin infections
Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid for conditions including allergies, asthma and rheumatic problems
Diazepam, a benzodiazepine for anxiety, seizures and insomnia
Fentanyl, an opioid pain medication
Heparin sodium, an anticoagulant used in treatment of heart attacks
Ketamine Hydrochloride, a general anaesthetic
Lidocaine Hydrochloride, a local anaesthetic
Midazolam, a benzodiazepine used as an anaesthetic or sedative
Vancomycin, an intravenous antibiotic

In 2019, Civica also formed a five-year agreement with Hikma Pharmaceuticals for the manufacture of sterile injectables in an effort to combat shortages in the US [2].

Related articles
FDA identifies causes of drug shortages, recommends solutions

Non-profit generics maker expects first generics in 2019

References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Hospitals launch non-profit generics company [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 February 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Generics/General/Hospitals-launch-non-profit-generics-company
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Agreement between Hikma and Civica to reduce US generic drug shortages company [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2020 February 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Pharma-News/Agreement-between-Hikma-and-Civica-to-reduce-US-generic-drug-shortages

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